Dutch Volunteers’ reviews: Help at Salleri, in the Himalayan Region
The volunteers from Holland Miss Sophie Thissen, Mr. Matthijs van Dijk, Ms. Linda van Heerink, Mr. Peter de Witte, Mr. Filip Froyen, Mr. Thijs Wijnakker, Mr. Giel Hakman & Mirjam Schuijlenburg were among our several other volunteers from different nations during October/November & December 2016. They preferred to dedicate their time, knowledge & effort at unspoiled nature and enjoy living with warm and welcoming village people at Salleri, Solukhumbhu District in the Himalayan region. The volunteers were involved in teaching English to small children at Mt. Everest English School and Buddhist monk children at a monastery. Most of the volunteers were involved in on going re-construction project of “Chhulayamu Primary School”, which was completely damaged by last year’s (April 2015) devastating earthquake.
Earthbag technology was implemented during the reconstruction of the Chhulayamu Primary School. Polypropylene bags were filled with soil and stacked properly by creating the necessary wall shapes & sizes. Earthbag walls are so substantial, they resist all kinds of severe weather and also stand up to natural calamities such as earthquakes and floods. They can be erected simply and quickly with readily available components, for very little money. The volunteers helped by filling and carrying loads of earthbags and stacking it properly by creating perfect walls. Very soon the children from Chhulayamu Primary School will be studying at new safe classrooms.
While volunteering at Salleri, the volunteers had the chance to get good fresh air, break a sweat and become acquainted with the geography & culture.
With the money they have raised and brought, volunteers Mr. Matthijs Van Dijk and his partner Ms. Linda van Heerink helped in installing solar water heater at the monastery and solar light at Mt. Everest School in Salleri. They donated a set toiletries to all the monk children at the monastery and teaching materials and carpet flooring at Chhulayamu Primary School. They also donated handful of amount to the fire victim at Salleri. A fire broke out in a house at Salleri on December 8.
Here are the excerpt from Matthijs Van Dijk’s personal blog: “We choose for volunteering through construction work and teaching. The first, simply because the need for practical measures after the earthquakes. We started with small painting chores at a kindergarten and a centre for disabled children in Kathmandu and eventually did the real deal by rebuilding a classroom ‘earthquake-prove’ in the Himalayas. In addition I taught at a primary/secondary school and a monastery because children are the countries future (unfortunately with a fast flowing brain drain out of Nepal). I focussed on English (following a learning plan combined with games) and Western Society (personal experiences). Besides volunteering we helped with small projects financed with personally collected donation money, which will be elaborated on in a successive blogpost.
During construction work we experienced very poor and unsafe resources people work with, although it stimulates creativity (carrying 60 Kg of stones on the back instead of a shovel). Volunteers have an independent role and the work is taken seriously, at least by non-government Nepali. The government does next to nothing for its people and excels in delaying of (international) money streams. That is why Nepal is strongly depending on gifts.
Linda and I participate in the daily and very basic lives of local Hindu and Buddhist families and its traditions, this broadened my perspective and puts my life back in Holland strongly in perspective. Above all, this experience brought me an enormous feeling of fulfilment as the people are very grateful. On the projects both Linda and I were given the strong feeling of a meaningful contribution by helping people get on in life with practicalities and knowledge and at least by giving the Nepali a fine experience. Although I probably will never find out, maybe in the future I will form one of the connected dots in the life of a Nepali.”
Volunteer Society Nepal, together with Monastery, Schools and local community in Salleri would like to thank all the volunteers for their hard work and help.